CCI: Bryan Hitch

Bryan Hitch shared his history with fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday. Joined by Marvel Comics editor Nick Lowe and a pitcher of apple juice, Hitch began by sharing how he got his official start in comics at the age of sixteen by sending samples of Transformers and G.I. Joe into Marvel's United Kingdom office. "They gave me a job on the spot and I've been out of work ever since."

Hitch soon broke into the U.S. market working with John Byrne on "She-Hulk." "I'm following John Byrne, industry legend, and I'm drawing women professionally, which is the start of a love affair for a lifetime." After She-Hulk, Hitch was offered a shot at drawing for DC Comics, including a gig drawing Superman himself. "The first thing I did was turn down a regular run on "Superman" just before 'The Death of Superman,' which was probably the biggest mistake," said Hitch, who instead worked on "The Outsiders."

Hitch would then team-up with Warren Ellis at Wildstorm on "Stormwatch," which eventually led to "The Authority." "It was the first time I think I began to really realize that I could do it I didn't have to think back to how everybody else would do it, I would just do it my way, hold my breath, and hope it didn't suck. Fortunately it didn't much."

Hitch returned to Marvel by invitation of Joe Quasada to reinvent the Avengers alongside Mark Millar with "The Ultimates." "[Quasada's] exact words were 'the lunatics are running the asylum, come join the party', and that seemed really appealing," said Hitch. "Mark called me and we talked pretty much the entire day." However, Millar and Hitch's plans for "The Ultimates" would take a dramatic shift in 2001.

"Everything we talked about that day never happened because September 11 happened and it changed our perception of how we wanted to run the book. It was originally much more like Authority. Balls to the wall, knocking buildings down, killing people... excessive violence in a Marvel style sort of way."

Hitch has become known for the level of detail he puts in his art, a quality noted by Lowe. Explained the artist, "When we were running into lateness problems with Ultimates I remember Joe calling you and saying, 'listen bud, you don't have to draw every window on every building in the background!' But I did! 'You did! Then you drew the people in the windows!'"

Following an admittedly "art nerdy" discussion about Hitch's decisions on the color of gutters in between panels, Lowe and Hitch went over his more recent non-comic contributions to shows like "Doctor Who" and "Star Trek." "The basic structure of the TARDIS was mine," said Hitch, whose work on "The Authority" was known by producer Russell T. Davies. "I didn't do a lot of drawings on there, I just got dragged into big meetings and throw ideas out."

Following a Q&A during which Hitch told fans about his inspiration for the Ultimate Captain America costume and talking about killing puppies with Warren Ellis, Lowe ended the panel with his own favorite stories about Hitch. "One of my favorite things about working with you is hearing certain stories about your life," said Lowe. "I don't know if anybody here knows that Bryan has superhuman strength. I remember a phone call where in pain, he called me because it was hard to sit in his chair and draw because he basically carried a piano upstairs all by himself."

Hitch explained, "I was taking it up stairs with my brother-in-law and he then let go. I was on the bottom and I thought I could either stand there and hold it or I fall down the stairs with a piano on top of me. Under that kind of incentive I thought super strength was the only alternative."

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